May 20, 2023·edited May 20, 2023

It was obvious from the outset that the russiagate conspiracy theory was so absurd, so ludicrous, it would have gotten its proponents laughed out of The John Birch Society in 1962. For one thing, it required Putin both to have powers bordering on psychic mind control, and at the same time, no clue how to use his superpowers.

Something I wrote some years back:

*sigh* For most people most of the time, the fastest and surest way to wind up dead or seriously disadvantaged has been at the hands of our fellow humans. At the same time, "our group", whether by faith, family, tribe, regiment, whatever, are the people we can trust to have our back.

Therefore, whatever else happens, whatever we have to do, believe absurdities, blindly follow barking insane leaders, parrot obvious lies to our detriment, do or suffer terrible things, but please whatever you do, please don't kick us out of the group!

Those who have lived in the Third World and in developed countries should have a light come on about now.

What this also means is that when we are presented with incontrovertible proof that the group narrative is wrong or that the group leaders are mad or charlatans or worse, rather than change leaders or change beliefs or change groups, most people, most of the time will instead double down. Witness the behavior of cultists.

The process is called "cognitive dissonance" and it is abundantly documented. As alluded to earlier, there are entire religions organized around the principle.

Cognitive dissonance is not limited to stupid people. In fact, the intelligent are at least as prone, perhaps because they are better at rationalizing. In fact, much so-called "knowledge work" is basically learning symbol manipulation in order to rationalize something.

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Chris, I agree with everything you say and think, except that you still don't understand that the "climate emergency" was the most successful concoction and psyop created in the last 50 years. You remain hypnotized by this narrative and owe it to yourself to look to the science and scientists who have resisted and haven't been corrupted by this blind belief. Climate always changes, but it's not our doing and it's not an emergency that can't be handled in the normal course of our capabilities

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Painful to say this, but not only is my country the greatest purveyor of violence on earth at this time, but it is also the greatest purveyor of idiotic propaganda. Even more painful is the fact that most fellow citizens are unaware if either fact. Nothing new in the Durham report, but why was it released now?

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Almost never mentioned when discussing *actual* and *effective* foreign influence in American elections is Israel. Or dare I dispense with the "almost", at least in the mainstream news and journalism ecosystem.

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All of which you write hurts, deeply. A visit to Seattle a couple years ago shocked. The explosion of houseless people with their fragile cramped tents all over the place where the land was level astonished. And reminded me of fotos of refugee camp villages. Our own people, refugees in the land of their birth. How can anyone taking that fact in not realize the brutality of our free enterprise corporatized system must be stopped?

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I was interviewed (and interrogated and intimidated) by an FBI agent, along with a Homeland Security investigator and a Hunterdon County Prosecutor, at my home, for merely taking photographs of oil refineries and chemical plants along the Delaware River ("critical infrastructure"). They openly accused me of possibly being a domestic terrorist. (and this was AFTER I had been detained by several local, State, and private police forces, photographed, and questioned for over an hour about the incident, including illegally searching my car and seizing personal documents).

The fact that no FBI agents interviewed witnesses and investigated these claims before the FBI launched a major federal criminal investigation is strong evidence of blatant abuse of power.

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Truth matters. Thank you Chris Hedges for this piece. It needs to said again and again. The Russia Gate story was lies, it was manipulation, it was a violation of public trust. And yet no one has been held accountable. The liberal media ( Deep state propaganda machine?) doesnt even cover the story much less apologize for their role or excoriate the actors. Come has a documentary on Netflix that makes him out to be a hero. Hilary still gets hundreds of thousands of dollars to give speeches.

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I always get so much out of your work. Thanks for publishing this. I understand and mostly agree with the irrationality of our system here in the US. Today so much of that comes from a merged force, in my opinion, of the neo-cons (free market) and Christian fundamentalists and those quite happy with very low union density and an over abundance of corporate control.

It doesn’t matter whether you are pro USA or pro-Russian. both Donald Trump (you’re fired) and Putin are of the same mold. So are Netanyahu, Orban, etc. these are politicians who are authoritarian, bullies, who are bought by these neo-cons and religious fundamentalists. It’s a very organized force. With many, many billionaires’ support.

I too think we are on the cusp of totalitarian and religious fundamentalist rule. Here in Fl. It’s almost fiat complete.

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The essence of Chris H. article is simply that it is not ok to lie, even about a potential demagogue like DT. The lies lead to mistrust of the systems meant to safeguard the truths. The truth tellers are ostracized and destroyed.

This leads to chaos.

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Trump all by himself is a menace . No one had to tell me this or talk me into believing it .

Im sorry but the idea that every investigation of Donald Trump is drummed up by devious Democrats forming a ‘witch hunt ‘ because they don’t like Donald is an interesting theory . And laying blame for inequality at the feet of Democrats is way too easy .

The Federalist Society, the Koch Brothers have been buying up supreme Court Justices and laying out the plans for continuing to serve the wealthiest Americans .

They’ve gerrymandered

Maps , attempted to overthrow a free election with Trumps encouragement .

Im not saying the US in general is a paradise. I understand that there have been many situations where corruption has ruled .

This article however conveys that all of the bad is because of Democrats and the FBI . Sorry i just cant see it .

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As Chris has said the Rise of Trump demagoguery was from income inequality and a precarious future of low wages and under employment. The one thing that many people miss is who seeded the future MAGA for all the wrong reasons. I will lay a lot of the blame on Koch brother dark money and the Tea Party. Their followers were horrified with this "revolution" and election of the first black president Obama and started a counter- revolution. The Koch mindset goes way back to the Coconut Grove millionaires and the John Birch Society power elite. The Koch led cohort of the dark money takeover of municipal then state politics led directly to the rise of a Trump like figure. He is their Frankenstein, a flawed child of privilege who did all their dirty work. Tax cuts for the rich, stacking the Supreme Court, Unquestioning support for Israel, Anti Labor, Anti healthcare, Anti Social Safety net, Pro Oil, Pro coal, Deregulation, Anti Science and Anti Public School to name a few. The MAGA sheep nodding in some kind of drugged miasma that make their lot in life even worse. Like the the animal "volk" in Orwell's Animal Farm. Propaganda dogma turned on a dime from "Four legs good, Two legs bad" into "Four legs Good, Two legs Better" without their notice. The power of Jim Crow thinking was/is a divide and conquer move to rule. Working poor whites have a lot more in common with working poor blacks than Trump and his Puppet Master Oligarchs that control both parties with the same Benjamins, stolen from blacks and whites alike! As LBJ once said "tell a poor white shareholder that he is better than a Ni--er", you can steal his money forever".

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Thanks for the article. It helped to put all the "noise" around this issue in perspective. It helps to explain the "Putin is the devil and Hitler" myths along with others, e.g., the war in Ukraine has a military solution to bring us closer to peace.

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Read Proof of Collusion, by Seth Abramson. Just the facts mam.

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Competing narratives here devolve into myopic distortions to paint a one-sided picture.

Perhaps it stems from a valid alarm at the demonization of Russia and the insanity of the Ukrainian war. But twisting history never seems a good idea.

The false equivalence here with QAnon stuns me. Are we to doubt that Felix Sater’s, Deripaska’s, and Moguleyvich’s dollars had influence? That the delivery of the Republican GOP voter demos to a Russian intelligence agency happened? That the Mueller report, far from exonerating Trump, actually stopped short of indictment because senior Trump team members and Trump himself could not be compelled to testify under oath, and because Barr and others believe a sitting President cannot be indicted?

It does seem that the defeat of Clinton was not solely or even mainly the work of Russians. FB and Cambridge Analytica had a part in the Russian ops too. But the biggest factor has been the decades of perfidious corruption of the Democratic Party, which betrays its base over and over, yes.

But the Russian ops in collaboration with others such as Israel and MBZ, in alliance with who lost out when the Gasprom alliance fell to sanctions, surely made a difference on the margins. Hedges myopia here seems odd.

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Mass psychosis.

I used to think most people were like me... able to wade through the BS and snake oil and come to a logical conclusions based only on the big picture of facts and truth.

Wow is all I can say to this epiphany that people could be so easily and completely indoctrinated into a new media mythology that they then refuse to let go.

I also used to think that the founders were overly excitable over the prospects of destructive tyranny and all its forms after western civilization entered the era of modernity. With rare exception, my class mates, coworkers and neighbors all seemed normal and rational. But now many of those same people literally froth at the mouth in anger at anyone that would claim Trump-Russia collusion was a big lie and coup attempt by the nation's elite political class.

Today, in addition to my understanding that we need to defeat these people and their mythology, I have a greater appreciation for how the Great Experiment has lasted this long given the proven propensity for the "smartest" members of our population to be so easily sucked into a self-destructive worldview.

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I so hope people wake up soon. It's such a sad time with all the lies and corruption and the curtains of the myth that is America are pulled and America is not at all what most people think it is. It just leaves a heavy sadness on the heart and it also makes one so angry. It doesn't have to be this way, but there's just too many greed filled, power mad people in the world.

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